Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

RS 21/7/189
James L. Kenney (1929-1972)
Papers, 1952-1972, n.d.

Descriptive summary


Kenney, James L. (1929-1972)




1952-1972, n.d.


0.21 linear ft. (1 half-document box)

collection number:

RS 21/7/189


University Archives, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information


Open for research

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

James L. Kenney Papers, RS 21/7/189, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Biographical note

James Lester Kenney was born to Claude and Marie Hollingshead Kenney on June 26, 1929, near Beaver, Iowa. He received his B.S. (1951) from Iowa State College (University) in animal husbandry. During his college years Kenney participated in Block & Bridle Club, Dairy Husbandry Club, VEISHEA open houses and horse shows, and was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho.

Upon graduation Kenney worked briefly for University Extension in Marshalltown, but received a military draft notice and arrived at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for basic training in early August 1952. Kenney then served in Sendai, Japan, as part of the military occupational force there. Corporal Kenney was discharged on June 26, 1953.

After his discharge, Kenney worked for several years for Iowa State University Extension in Albia and as an assistant in the 4-H youth program in Adel. He became manager of Perry Implement Company in Perry, Iowa, and soon became assistant manager and bookkeeper of the local grain cooperative in Holstein. Farmers Grain Dealers in Des Moines and then General Mills in Avon hired him to merchandise grain. Kenney started a successful career as a commodity broker for Merrill Lynch in Des Moines in 1965. As part of his job he conducted informational meetings around the state for country grain elevator operators, farmers, and agricultural industrialists. In 1971 he joined Conti Commodity Co. as manager when the company made its debut into the commodity trading business.

James Kenney married Ruth Jean Grow (now Ruth Kenney-Randolph) of Rippey, Iowa, on August 8, 1953. Together they had three children: Jerry Lee, Linda Jean, and Sally Jane. Kenney was killed in an automobile accident on June 23, 1972.


Collection description

The collection (1952-1972, n.d.) contains a short biography, correspondence, and a newspaper obituary notice for James L. Kenney. The correspondence contains letters sent by Kenney to his parents from 1952-1953 while he was serving with the United States military occupational force in Sendai, Japan. In the letters, Kenney inquires about friends and family back home, tells about his activities and experiences in Japan, and comments on various topics including politics, farm and weather reports he hears from Iowa, and the military.



The collection is arranged in alphabetical order.


Container list







Biographical information

1972, n.d.



Correspondence from Kenney to his parents while serving in Sendai, Japan




Correspondence from Kenney to his parents while serving in Sendai, Japan